Carol Scudder

Open To Stuff....

What I did yesterday ...

Yesterday was Sunday - and the living was easy. Relatively easy anyway. But for the pain. the nagging constant pain in my back (upper left - sort of under the ol' shoulder blade and up over the top of the shoulder). An awful, self-massage-resistant knot that will not go away.
I remembered my friend Mary recommended a massage place, around the corner, that she said was pretty cheap and very good. I put it off for another hour or so, just to ... I don't know, suffer more?
Then I called. AND THEY ANSWERED!!!!
"Hi, I was wondering if you've got time for a one hour massage today, like ... within the hour?"
I think I sound desperate, and it's kind of embarrassing.
The woman on the other end, or was it a youngish girl? ... hesitated a moment.
"OH NO! Oh no..." I shrieked silently to myself, "... what if they're all booked!???"
Then - happily - she said, "Maybe ... 6:00pm?"
"Yes! Yes. That's great, thanks."
Oh my god! Relief. Now I'd just have to wait two whole hours, and I'd be in, Flynn-like.
I used the time to straighten up the apartment and lay on the floor hugging my knees to my chest, and to enter the calories I'd eaten so far into the calorie counter website and figure out what to have for dinner, and how many calories that might be.
Then - before I knew it,  I was lying on a table wearing only my underpants, face-down under a sheet with my face in the hole-thing you put your face in when you get a massage, John Tesh-ish music playing softly, and the massage therapist arrived. God love her. I pointed out the spot that hurt the most, hoping that this wouldn't be just the usual, sort of "general" massage, but that she would truly, sincerely, address my knot.
Well. I'm happy to report - that she addressed the hell out of it.
I have never experienced a massage exactly like this one. She was psychic. Or more specifically, her fingers were psychic. Or maybe she had X-Ray fingers. I don't know. I just know she was all up in there, working the hell out of my whole shoulder carriage, both sides, but with special attention to the sorest side. Climbing on top of me, elbows, knees, her head maybe? I don't know. But I didn't need to know. This woman had a plan. She knew what she was doing. What truly blew my mind though, was the way she attacked me armpit. As a way to get to the underside/backside of my shoulder? Mashing, digging and probing around in my arm-pit as if it were a drain and she'd just dropped her wedding ring down it.
"What is she doing?" I wondered, alarmed. "Is this a Lymph thing? A Qi thing? An Exorcist thing?"
It hurt. It hurt so much I almost asked her to stop. Almost. But I didn't. I rarely do. Because, nine times out of ten, whatever they are doing, no matter how much it hurts, seems like something that should, no must, be done. I trusted her and was willing to let her hurt me however she saw fit. And sure enough, at some point during the arm-pit thing, I felt some release. And relief. Not cured. Not gone. But better.
One time - years ago, I got a very cheap Chinatown massage, on a whim, and it hurt - a lot, and I finally DID tell him that he needed to "do less". It didn't work though. I thought he was going to crush my skull, or maybe tear off my arm and use it to pry my other arm off. He had no plan. He did not know what he was doing. Maybe he didn't even work there. I was sore for days afterwards.
Yesterday, as I was having that great, and surprising massage (arm pits!), I thought of my mother. Not because she loved massage, but because it would be so completely surprising to her that I, or anyone, a woman especially, would do that. Take ones clothes off and lay under a sheet, while a total stranger touches you for an hour? With oil? And sometimes it's a man instead of a woman??! Incredible. Unbelievable. Unfathomable! I like to imagine that she can see me, from her special place in heaven (the kitchen, if they're lucky). And that she thinks it's cool.  An exotic adventure. Something that takes balls. Like lots of things I've done, move to New York, acting, cooking for money, the whole thing. I like to imagine her watching me at an audition, or on a set, or getting a massage, or searing duck breasts for a  dinner for 20, or running down the subway steps and catching that damned train. And I imagine she's smiling, her eyes crinkling up at the improbable stuff this daughter of hers has done. And I know there were times that her back hurt like heck. And I'm sorry that she couldn't have gotten a massage, but ... that's OK. I'll just take her to mine.